Friday, May 31, 2013

breakfast at the hotel

An early morning at the Lethbridge Lodge breakfast buffet where we stayed...

My mother always used to say that the best part about traveling on holidays were the breakfasts at the hotels.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

University of Lethbridge

The main building (University Hall) at the University of Lethbridge can't be missed as it overlooks the expansive and dramatic river valley as a relentless, heroic, horizontal gesture across the badlands prairie landscape. As an iconic Canadian icon of modern architecture, I had to visit the place and was impressed by the amount of detail put into producing the effect. 

First Baptist Church, Lethbridge, Alberta

The sanctuary
A meeting in the adjacent hall
Over the Victoria Day weekend, we were able to attend a missions conference in Lethbridge, Alberta. This was the first visit to this city, and I found it a beautiful place.

The 3-day conference took place mostly in a church building that was likely built in the mid 20th century, and I fell in love with the restrained, humble, but nonetheless powerful ways in which it (I believe) portrayed the gospel narrative... likely missed by most who attended, but it sent my heart racing.

Some symbolic elements I noticed include:

The drawn curtains flanking the altar, not only lending a sense of theatricality as we witness the cross, but suggesting the parted temple veil (Matthew 27:50,51), and reminding us of the new covenant that allows us to approach God's throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:14-16)...

The 2 crosses flanking the central Cross, suggested by the decorative brickwork forming the mullion that divides two vertical windows... giving us a glimpse of Golgotha. Other lintels are not treated this way, so the intention of creating the 2 flanking crosses must be quite deliberate (Luke 23:32-43). These crosses where the 2 criminals were executed seem "of this world" (they are rendered in brick, "rooted" in our realm), while the central cross hangs weightlessly in a spiritual realm, bathed in light (it is treated in thinner and more intricate woodwork, finely crafted, as are the vertical latticework screens that suggest the fellowship of the Holy Spirit descending from above, and our praises rising to the heavens. In fact the verticals continue up into the ceiling and its pattern literally become lights above the sanctuary...). It is a resurrected and ascended Jesus that is depicted, and our songs of praise as a community in Christ belongs to that realm of holiness.

The aisles actually form 6 niches on each side, and together (perhaps) suggest the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 apostles, the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem...  allowing multiple interpretations and theological significance as it relates to the worshiping community of Christ (these niches are located flanking the pews). Whatever the interpretation, it takes the current Church and places it within a Biblical timeline and spiritual trajectory that includes the patriarchs of the Old Testament, the witnesses of the New Covenant, and leads towards the visions depicted in Revelations.

Overall, there is a restraint and simplicity in expression and in materials, and the subdued imagery and interior form suggests Christ's humble birth, his ministry, and his life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

road work

On my way to sketch some more motorcycles, I came across other kinds of machinery as crews begin roadwork again.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

... and yet another motorcycle...

Another motorcycle parked along Jasper Avenue... with anywhere from 15 to 20 motorcycles parked along this segment every day during the summer, there is no shortage of subject matter.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Mother's Day...

Appropriately, right before Mother's Day, I came across this old photo that was kept in my parent's family album.

I'm not sure when exactly it was taken, but it was some time in the 80s... it shows 3 drawings of my mother, probably done at the same time -- by my father, my sister, and me.

It has been a year and a half since my mother passed away (and about two and a half since my father's passing). This photo reminds me of the fun things we did together as a family (like drawing together), the memories my sister is creating with her children now, and the ones I cherish today with my son and daughter. I wonder what my children will remember about their upbringing?

Dentistry Building, University of Alberta

 Two quick sketches of the Dentistry Building at the University of Alberta, during a rare free moment after a late afternoon site visit -- a nice way to end the work week.

Friday, May 10, 2013

...more motorcycles...

A Harley and a Yamaha, among others, parked on Jasper Avenue...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Only last week it was snowing, and most Edmontonians were complaining about the unusually stubborn and long winter... yesterday, many of us were languishing in the 33 degree heat wave that swept across this region. Motorcycles have now appeared everywhere, including one small stretch along Jasper Avenue where they are lined up, all shiny, on display by their proud owners.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day), 2013

 It's been a year since the kabuto ornament has seen the light of day, and this morning I brought it out of the basement, just in time for Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day). It will be 40 years old this year... a bit of an antique that has stayed with us despite my family's moves across continents growing up. As I wonder what our kids will experience in the next 40 years, I am grateful to God for the many ways in which they (and in turn, we) have been nurtured over the past year.
Walnut Ink and watercolour wash on Bristol Paper pad

Pilot Parallel Pen and Bristol paper pad

Friday, May 3, 2013

Robbins Health Learning Centre interior 2

The grand staircase that leads up from the main floor gathering space towards the second floor, at the Robbins Health Learning Centre.